Singapore Airlines denies snooping with seatback cameras

Travelers took to social media to raise the alarm over the cameras at the bottom of seatback screens on a number of the Singapore flag carrier’s newer aircraft. (Supplied)
Updated 21 February 2019
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Singapore Airlines denies snooping with seatback cameras

  • Outcry online from worried passengers who spotted the tiny lenses peering at them
  • The airline confirmed that some of its latest inflight entertainment systems did have fixed cameras — but assured passengers that they had been disabled

SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines insisted Thursday that cameras on its planes’ entertainment systems had been disabled after an outcry online from worried passengers who spotted the tiny lenses peering at them.
Travelers took to Twitter and other social media to raise the alarm over the cameras at the bottom of seatback screens on a number of the Singapore flag carrier’s newer aircraft.
“Just found this interesting sensor looking at me from the seat back on board of Singapore Airlines. Any expert opinion of whether is a camera?” passenger Vitaly Kamluk tweeted.
His tweet was accompanied by photos of the monitor with the embedded camera.
Another passenger urged the airline in a tweet to “notify all your passengers and get their consent, particularly EU residents, that you are doing this, why, what are you doing with the data and how long you keep it.”
The airline confirmed that some of its latest inflight entertainment systems did have fixed cameras — but assured passengers that they had been disabled.
“These cameras have been intended by the manufacturers for future developments. These cameras have been permanently disabled on our aircraft and cannot be activated on board,” the airline said in a statement.
“We have no plans to enable or develop any features using the cameras.”


US economists less optimistic, see slower growth: survey

Updated 58 min 59 sec ago
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US economists less optimistic, see slower growth: survey

  • While the odds of a US recession by 2020 remain low, they are rising
  • The odds of a recession starting in 2019 is at around 20 percent, and for 2020 at 35 percent

WASHINGTON: US economists are less optimistic about the outlook and sharply lowered their growth forecasts for this year, amid slowing global growth and continued trade frictions, according to a survey published Monday.
And while the odds of a recession by 2020 remain low, they are rising, the National Association for Business Economics said in their quarterly report.
The panel of 55 economists now believe “the US economy has reached an inflection point,” said NABE President Kevin Swift.
The consensus forecast for real GDP growth was cut by three tenths from the December survey, to 2.4 percent after 2.9 percent expansion in 2018.
The economy is expected to slow further in 2020, with growth of just 2 percent, the report said.
Three-quarters of respondents cut their GDP forecasts and believe the risks of to the economy are weighted to the downside.
“A majority of panelists sees external headwinds from trade policy and slower global growth as the primary downside risks to growth,” NABE survey chair Gregory Daco said in a statement.
“Nonetheless, recession risks are still perceived to be low in the near term.”
Panelists put the odds of a recession starting in 2019 at around 20 percent, and for 2020 at 35 percent, slightly higher than in December.
Daco said that “reflects the Federal Reserve’s dovish policy U-turn in January” when the central bank said it would keep interest rates where they are for the foreseeable future, a message reinforced this week.
After four rate increases last year, Daco said a “near-majority of panelists anticipates only one more interest rate hike in this cycle compared to the three hikes forecasted in the December survey.”
Panelists see wage growth as the biggest upside risk to the economy, despite expected increase of just 3 percent this year, as inflation holds right around the Fed’s 2 percent target.
Meanwhile, amid President Donald Trump’s aggressive tariff policies, the panel projects the trade deficit will rise to a record $978 billion this year, beating last year’s record $914 billion.
In an interesting twist in the survey, only 20 percent said they expected to see the dreaded “inverted yield curve” — when the interest rate on the 10-year Treasury note falls below the 3-month bill — this year.
In fact, the yield curve inverted on Friday for the first time since 2007.